Topic 1: Promotion of Education in Africa
The issue of basic education in the world, especially in Africa has been in the spotlight, waiting impatiently to be solved. The UN, with its Millennium Development Goals, has cited education as one of its top priorities to be achieved by 2015. The African Union, with its Second Decade of Education, has emphasized the need for primary education in Africa to ensure gender equality and the enhancement of African cultural values. Sadly, in many African nations, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, adult literacy rates are well below 50%, and many youth lack the most basic and primal educational opportunities. The delegation of South Africa recognizes this urgent need of promotion of education in Africa.
As a fortunate nation, South Africa has a stable educational infrastructure and a sound “baseline” for elementary education. In South Africa, the average adult literacy rate is a good 93 percent, as compared to the international average of 84 percent (2010) and the staggering 62 percent of Africa. To continue, most youth has completed grade 9, which concludes their general education and ends their compulsory schooling. And to breathe a sigh of relief, there is little gender disparity in the South African education system.
However, there are always some holes. Despite the solid literacy rate- this is defined as a person 15 years or older and can write a short statement about his or her life- South Africa lacks strong secondary and tertiary education. As stated from a study conducted by the OCED (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development), “some three-quarters of South African adults have completed at least grade 6, half has completed grade 9, and just under one-third have completed grade 12.” Also, of the 200,000 learners who do not attend an educational institution in the 7-15 age groups, many cite school-fees as the main obstacle course that prevents them from going to school. To add on to the list of depressing facts, scores in mathematics are very low in the country and there is also the highly publicized problem of textbook shortage. Finally, South Africa faces the problem of not enough teachers. Many educators often leave their profession for higher-paying positions and those who stay in their field tend to move out of South Africa to more developed countries. The lack of teachers greatly reduces the quality of education provided.
South Africa’s Actions
Understanding these concerns, South Africa has put 20% of its total state expenditures into the education sector, which is “one of the highest rates of public education in the world”, as quoted by SouthAfrica.info. Of course, money is the driving force for all action plans and the fuel to drive South Africa back from the post-Apartheid drag.
With the funding in hand, the Department of Education has three notable programs of 2014 to turn education around. The first action plan is a new strategy to improve learning and...